Restoration activities of natural oyster beds in the Adriatic Sea

Photo: Walter De Walderstein / Cristian Di Pietro


European flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) were common in the Adriatic Sea, and extensive reefs were reported until the early 1900s. Due to habitat disturbance and overexploitation, flat oysters are now scattered and only by-caught in fisheries. The large-scale project “Restoration activities of natural Oyster beds in the ADriatic Sea”. (2023-2026) is financed by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Next Generation EU) in the framework of the Marine Ecosystem Restoration project (MER). It aimed at restoring wild native oyster reefs in seven sites along the Italian Adriatic coast.

The project foresees the deployment of 7 ha of substrates and the release of adult oysters in cages to enable larval supply and recruitment settlement. Monitoring activities will be carried out throughout the project. Oysters’ release will take place in 2025 and 2026.

RegionSite code Site nameCoordinates (WGS84) 
Lat Lon 
Friuli-Venezia Giulia #1 Condotta Lignano 45.629 13.189 
Veneto #2 ZSC Tegnùe di Chioggia 45.224 12.497 
Veneto #3 Zona di Sicurezza terminale GNL Adriatico 45.079 12.569 
Emilia-Romagna #4 ATB Fuori Riccione 44.024 12.711 
Marche #5 Casteldimezzo-Monte Castellaro 43.979 12.891 
Marche #6 Porto Recanati-Porto Potenza Picena 43.418 13.746 
Abruzzo #7 Cologna 42.721 14.059 

Start date of project planning: September 2022.

Start date of active restoration activities: September 2024.

Primary objective: Restore self-sustaining native oyster habitats.

Secondary objectives: Increasing the biodiversity value of the site and delivering ecosystem services (support to marine-coastal biodiversity, erosion mitigation, CO2 sequestration, improvement of water quality and biomass production services).

Project partner organisations:

  • Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, ISPRA (leading the project definition and implementation),
  • Ministry of Environment and Energy Security (administration responsible for the project under Next Generation EU Fundings).

More information and ISPRA-Video:


Saša Raicevich

Enrico Tarulli

Francesca Ronchi

Tomaso Fortibuoni